Making a World of Difference - One Person Helping Another
‘Karen and Jay share thoughts on the virtues of human kindness.’
Simple acts of kindness make all the difference. One person helping another – showing decency, respect and a sense of giving. Especially, at this time, in this remarkable year of 2020, when it’s easy to become overwhelmed, we all know that a well-placed act of human kindness can change your entire outlook in the ‘blink of an eye.’ With this in mind, let’s recognize the power of kindness and resolve to make it part of our daily lives. Today and tomorrow, let’s each do at least one selfless act of giving, and bring positivity and sunshine into someone else’s life.
The truth is that throughout the last six months, we’ve all been challenged in unexpected ways. From the impact of COVID - to the various other twists and turns that this year has produced, we’ve all been forced to deal with the circumstances presented. To adapt, to show flexibility and overcome challenges with a spirit of positivity and optimism. As a result, some very bright spots have emerged. Incredible stories about how resilient we truly are, and more notably, the power of human kindness.
Here is one true story that recently grabbed my attention. It is one of the countless examples this past year - of one human being helping another – and in the end, achieving a remarkable outcome. This is the story of Scott Cohen and Abbie Park – both from New York. Scott had just turned 48 this past April when he contracted COVID. After being in a coma for 10 days and hooked up to a ventilator, doctors were not optimistic Scott would survive the next 48 hours. Abbie Park, who’d previously contracted COVID in March and recovered, learned about Scott’s condition and wanted to help - despite having never met him. It turned out that Abbie was a blood match for Scott and immediately rushed to donate plasma to help him recover. Thanks to Abbie, Scott came out of his coma and made a full recovery. This past week the two strangers met for the first time, with Scott expressing his deep gratitude for Abbie’s help and for being given what he called a second chance at life.
All over the country, as we continue to fight against the medical, economic and other challenges this past year has presented, selfless acts like Abbie’s occur every day demonstrating what can be done when each of us individually choose kindness, positivity and a commitment to helping each other.
Blessings in the Pandemic – Great News for Dogs - and People!
During the past year, there have been numerous instances – when we, in our small towns and across the nation – have shown appreciation for those who have been of service. Celebrating the frontline medical workers fighting the virus – 24/7. Expressing our gratitude for the truckers, the grocery workers, and all those who have been there from the very start. Doing all we can to support local businesses and keep them afloat during these tough times.
And in addition to all this, I am thrilled to let you know that there has been yet another blessing. As you may know, I love dogs. So, when the pandemic hit, one of the questions I was wondering about was – ‘what will happen to all those homeless puppies and dogs in the shelters – shelters that are often running on tight budgets and in need of funding?’ Will those dogs be OK?
Well, great news. Although not widely reported, it turns out that new pet adoptions have skyrocketed over the past six months. Starting in March, as the pandemic hit, families have been adopting dogs from shelters in record numbers. It turns out that that with so many people – spending so much more time at home – they have the ability to care for a pet. And, even more than that, for many people there has been a sense of loneliness during this unusual time – and a pet, especially a dog, can be a loyal and valuable companion. Pets can bring joy, a sense of well being and can even be a sort of calming influence.
So, in an ironic twist – as we celebrate ‘human kindness’ – one way to view this is to be grateful for the kindness of people in providing homes for these dogs that otherwise would have no future. Another interesting way to think about it, however, is to look at it from the other side. These great pets who give back to their new owners a sense of well-being and completeness – that in turn, creates a positive condition and gratitude - wherein their owners a much more likely to be happy, kind, generous and giving. Thus, creating a truly virtuous cycle of human kindness.
Holistic Well-Being and Veterans with PTSD
Not all battle scars are visible. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has had many names over the years starting with ‘shell shock,’ but it is a real crisis facing many of our veterans today. Too often we tell people they have to ‘toughen up’ - but the science is clear- those with PTSD have a real illness that is hard to diagnose and even harder to treat.
The number of Veterans dealing with PTSD and suicide has increased significantly in the past decade and this was the impetus to establish Operation Warrior Shield, to ‘heal their hidden wounds.’
Enter Special Advisor/Veterans Advocate Anne Akers who in 2017 led in the creation and introduction of the program VETWELL. VETWELL takes a holistic community-based approach, including meditation. The program aims to help veterans with PTSD at no cost – and with more than just pills. And, now with COVID-19 coming onto the scene earlier this year - this difficult job just got so very much more difficult. Not to be discouraged, VETWELL sprang into action and now operates on a virtual basis, offering consultations over the internet.
In addition, Anne has affected a partnership with New York's Open Center, recognized as one of the country's largest centers for holistic and global education. Through this partnership, with the Open Center and the COVID Care Network, New Yorkers for New York was formed. New Yorkers for New York, a public service campaign, provides virtual healing services at no cost to Veterans, front-liners and essential workers, as well as local residents struggling with stress and anxiety. To date, about 11,500 individuals have been served by this resource.
We need more forward-thinking solutions to our nation’s problems, including helping out veterans who continue to suffer from unseen injuries. We applaud Anne, Operation Warrior Shield and VETWELL for finding ways to step up and serve – while being innovative and adaptive at the same time!
Positive Profile of the Week: Pat Conway
As Rockingham County Attorney, Pat is on front lines defending the innocent and doing all she can to keep our community safe. First elected in 2014, Pat has led the office of county attorney with determination and strength - to lower the crime rate – standing ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with law enforcement to rid of state of the drug epidemic.
Moreover, Pat is a champion for victims – demonstrating compassion every step of the way. Communicating and meeting with victims and their families early in the process. Supporting their rights and truly being their advocate in the difficult legal process.
With longstanding experience, as Assistant Rockingham County Attorney for 16 years, and now as County Attorney, we are immensely fortunate to have Pat leading the way in prosecuting cases – supporting law enforcement – with an eye toward fairness, justice and victims’ rights.
Meanwhile, a key part of the team, is Pat’s husband, Eric – who also has a long standing and distinguished career of public service. A police officer for twenty years, Eric hasn’t stopped there. Today, Eric is continuing to devote his time to the community - teaching 6th grade math in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
We are delighted to honor Pat as our ‘Positive Profile of the Week,’ and extend our heartfelt thanks to Pat and Eric for all their great contributions to our community.
Quotes of the Week: Human Kindness
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
“Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
“The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”